Thursday, August 3, 2017

Mike Krushelnyski Autograph Card

Despite a 6'2", 200-215-pound frame that could have made him his era's best power forward, Mike Krushelnyski wasn't one to force physical play. Instead, "Krusher" played the periphery, using his decent hands to accumulate 20-goal seasons, although he was able to actually withstand hits on the boards and maintain puck control.

He posted career-highs in 1984-85 for goals with 43 (17 more than his second-best season, 26 in 1988-89), and his tops for points was 88 (23 more than the 65 he had in 1982-83), but because he was unable to keep up with Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri on the left wing of the Edmonton Oilers' top line, co-head coach John Muckler turned him into a third-line checking center, saying:
"He has a lot of skill, in addition to his size and strength. But there are psychological problems involved in working with Gretzky. You have to do things on blind faith, assuming he'll get the puck to you - and that's hard to do. A lot of times, Krusher was so astounded by what was happening that he'd fail to react. He couldn't believe the pass he'd just received, so there'd be no shot at all."
 And that makes sense.

Still, he won Stanley Cups with the Oilers in 1985, 1987 and 1988, and reached the Conference Finals with the Toronto Maple Leafs twice; I find it really funny that a guy who was known as a checking center had his only four seasons in the minuses be the four years he played on a decent Leafs team, 1990-94.

He also suited up for the Boston Bruins (who selected him in the sixth round, 120th overall, in 1979), Los Angeles Kings and Detroit Red Wings. He was part of two major trades involving the Oilers, who acquired him from Boston in a one-on-one deal for Ken Linseman, then sent him to the Kings along with Wayne Gretzky and Marty McSorley for Jimmy Carson, the picks that became Jason Miller, Martin Rucinsky and Nick Stajduhar, and $10M.

Here he joins Brad Winchester as #26 in my Oilers Numbers Project, with card #FI-MK from Upper Deck's 2013-14 Edmonton Oilers Collection and Franchise Ink sub-set:
It shows him wearing the Oilers' classic white (home) uniform and features a blue-sharpied on-sticker autograph.

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